Welcome to the new blog series from The OSC Team, Learning the Lingo with Olin! The goal of these posts will be to examine how impactful the vocabulary used in the world of real estate can be as well as providing tips and tricks to best highlight your property rather than misrepresenting it. The past decade I have spent helping clients with buying and selling homes and working with such a wide variety of clients has taught me that words really do matter. With over 14,000 licensed real estate agents just in the Chicago area, these alterations to your terminology could be what sets you or your property apart.
Cheap vs. Affordable
Everyone loves a good bargain. We love it so much we created a whole holiday around it! Following Thanksgiving - a day meant to spend with loved ones reflecting on the things we currently have in our lives that we are grateful for - we stay up all night with bellies full of mashed potatoes and hearts full of holiday cheer just to line up outside of a Walmart and fight a soccer mom for the last discounted mini fridge. The argument could be made that it's not really that new mini fridge that gives us satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, but rather it's the rush of emotion you feel knowing that you saved a few bucks.
If people are willing to trample their neighbors to get a good deal on a panini maker, imagine how excited they may be at the prospect of saving money on a home! According to the National Realtor Associations quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey, "When asked for the primary reason non-homeowners currently do not own, an increasing share of them over the past year said it was because they are unable to afford it." If you can properly capitalize on the innate desire to get the best bang for your buck, you can have great success in real estate but there is a big difference in how you would sell that discounted panini maker and a home.
That difference is that a home is an investment, so while everyone would love to save some money you don't want to skimp out and sacrifice quality for cost. So how do you communicate a great deal without devaluing the home? It can be as easy as picking the right words. While a property may be cheaper than others like it in terms of cost, the word "cheap" implies a lower quality as well. Rather than making someone feel like they have simply saved money, it can make a potential buyer feel as though they are paying less because they are making sacrifices. Consider using a word like "affordable" instead, which relates specifically to the price of a home without creating the negative connotation surrounding quality. "Affordable" can tug at the same heartstrings as a great Black Friday deal without casting fear over the stability of your investment.
Starting out this blog series with this small but impactful vocabulary variation is perfect because this is such a double edged sword. You absolutely want to emphasize a low price but if you aren't careful, this benefit can become your downfall and cost you a sale. As this series continues, we'll examine a number of other instances where a single word can make or break a closing and how to best represent you and your home.